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Free education — the popular policy

Dawn Gibson And Nasik Swami
Saturday, July 12, 2014

GOVERNMENT'S free education policy for primary and secondary schools is the most popular initiative among voters, the Tebbutt-Times Poll has revealed.

Of the 1028 eligible voters surveyed in the urban and peri-urban areas of Suva, Nasinu, Lami, Nausori, Nadi, Lautoka and Ba from June 16 to 18, 2014, ahead of the September 17 election, majority said they were happy with the free education policy and wanted it to continue post-elections.

The poll revealed that making education free had been widely mentioned as the key positive change in education policy and procedures in recent years.

When asked the question, "what would you say is the most positive change in recent years in education policy and procedures", a staggering 86 per cent said free schooling.

Free transportation initiative was second, mentioned by 51 per cent of those surveyed.

There were a range of other policies mentioned by relatively smaller number of respondents, covering books and stationery, scholarships, the tertiary loan scheme and other items.

The poll observed that younger people (aged 18 to 24 years) were relatively more likely than older respondents to mention scholarships.

And in terms of future priorities for education, 16 per cent of the 1028 polled said maintaining free primary and secondary school education was of great importance.

Following this, some of those surveyed also said that more scholarships should be provided, school facilities should be improved, schools should have more qualified teachers and extending free education to preschool and tertiary levels were also mentioned.

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